I personally don’t give two sips about how cutting back on purchasing coffee will A. save money for travels and B. stretch money further on said travels. Yes, to fuel a coffee habit is approximately $5 per day, which is $150 each month and totals to $1,800 per year. That, in turn, would be enough to fuel at least one over-indulgent girl's trip. But, the truth of the matter is that coffee fuels me, and two of my most favourite things are coffee and traveling, so why, oh why, would I sacrifice one for the other?
And while I’m a hopeless romantic and long for someone to look at me the way that I look at a travel brochure or a cup of coffee; I’m personally done with looking longingly at both; I’d rather just see it (the world) and drink it (the coffee)!
They complement each other nicely. There’s that little rush you feel after the first sip of good coffee (aka, a coffeegasam). How about that little rush you get when you arrive in a new city, just waiting to explore? Have you ever tried both hand-in-hand? Well, “O”-hhh.
For those of you who, like me, are unwilling to sacrifice coffees or countries, Jeremy, the Travel Freak, writes a helpful post on, “How to Save Up Money for Travel: You Don’t Need to Stop Drinking $5 Lattes.” And while I am blessed to travel for a living, usually all expenses paid, I still look to Jeremy’s insights to help myself budget on personal travels, in order to quench both travel and caffeine needs.
In my coffee-fuelled adventures, there have been many countries and many blends; however, there have also been a few embarrassing blunders along the way… here are my four confessions of a traveling coffee addict:
Between switching majors during my first and second year of university, I was moonlighting as a flight attendant for a commercial airline, in order to pay for tuition and living expenses. And I mean moonlighting quite literally because I often worked the redeyes back from Maui and Honolulu. Now, I am not complaining - I picked this flight route willingly because I mean, who doesn’t want 24 hours on the beach in Hawaii? Plus, it meant that I got to drink coffee all day and all night – a haven for a coffee addict, such as myself. One flight, however, I had reached body’s maximum caffeine tolerance after consuming a Venti Americano with an additional two shots of espresso at the airport before boarding my flight. By the time in-flight service took off, I had the jitters. I was trying to hand passengers their drink, all the while mine were shaking. Then, a kind man asked for a cup of coffee. “Oh, a man after my own heart,” I teased. I shakily reached out the cup of coffee, as his hands reached out to receive the cup from mine, a little splashed out and onto his lap. Startled by this turn of events, our hands never fully exchanged the coffee and it then sloshed into his lap. Mortified, I blabbed about how sorry I was, instinctively reached for a handful of napkins to place on his lap, soaking up the coffee-stained-mess. After my initial instinct wore off, I realized that I was dabbing his pants like some silly meet-cute, or male fantasy – and I was doubly mortified. I profusely started to apologize and this time, because not only had I spilled hot coffee into the man’s lap, but now I had basically just groped and defiled his personal space. He was quite gracious about the quandary and luckily had a spare pair of pants in his carry-on baggage. I provided him with a dry-cleaning voucher so that his coffee-stained ones would be taken care of. When he departed the aircraft, he looked at me and teased, “What a waste of precious coffee.”
After my second year of university, I took a scholarship to learn French in Chicoutimi, a borough 200 kilometers north of Quebec City where 98% of locals don’t speak a word of English. When I landed in the town, I was jonesing for a coffee so bad that I would have done questionable things for even drop of caffeine. I found Café Cambio, a cute little café downtown where I encountered my first experience ordering a latte in French. Oh, and did I mention that I hadn’t learnt any French yet? When the total came to dix-neuf (19) dollars, I thought that perhaps I had heard them wrong (French numbers weren’t an exception to my lack of French language knowledge) or, perhaps lattes are stupidly expensive in Chicoutimi? Then I saw four coffees lined up on the counter and all I could muster was, “Je ne sais pas,” the French equivalent of “I do not know” - it’s all that I knew how to say at the time and, to be candid, it’s basically all I still know. In the end, let’s just say that I drank my money’s worth and didn’t sleep that night. You think it would have provided me with invaluable time to learn the language but regrettably, while I may not know much in French I can admit this: Je suis stupid…and I don’t think that needs any further translation.
During my third year of university, I made the switch from flying commercially to flying privately. My new company asked me to attend the NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) in Las Vegas -the sixth biggest convention that takes place in Vegas every two years. I was so excited to have the opportunity to accompany my mentors and learn the marketing and business development sides of aviation. However, what I didn’t know was how exhausting conventions are (See blog post on Business Conventions in Las Vegas). On the second day of the convention, I woke up at 6 a.m. after having gone to bed at 2 a.m., and I knew that the complimentary hotel room coffee at the Cosmopolitan wasn’t going to cut it – I NEEDED espresso. In such a hurry to consume the delicious warm beverage, which some would say is equivalent to heaven in a cup (okay, it's me, I say that), I didn’t even change out of my pink pin-striped Victoria Secret silk pajamas. I took the elevator to main lobby in search of a coffee bar. I kind of figured that since it’s Las Vegas, everyone would be sleeping at 6 a.m. and the only people who would be up, would be people who were still up, inebriated from the night before. The elevator door made a ding noise and opened onto the main lobby, I took two steps out and suddenly realized that I was wrong. The lobby was buzzing with people, all of whom were looking at me like I was still inebriated from the night before! My skin turned the color of the pink pin-striped pajamas, and I basically ran the two steps back into the elevator, pressing the button to my hotel floor over and over again hoping that would make me get to my room quicker so that I could run and hide under my covers. It was in that moment I was particularly grateful for one of the most famous tourism marketing slogans, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
At the end of my fourth year of university, I was simultaneously working privately as a flight attendant and writing my capstone thesis. It actually worked out quite lovely - I was fortunate enough to have a lot of downtime in various hotels, which provided me with no distractions to write my thesis and it also meant consuming a LOT of coffee. One day, at a hotel in Texas, I kept filling up on coffee in the concierge’s lounge. But it felt like the caffeine wasn’t kicking in. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I drink a cup of coffee, I soon start to feel the effects of caffeine run through my body in the form of euphoria (that's super normal – right?). Not only do I feel happy, but I look forward to life with a burst of energy. However, on this particular day, I didn’t feel anything. I kept going down to the lounge for cup after cup. I started to worry that perhaps I had finally consumed enough caffeine that my body had become immune to its euphoric effects; my god, what would I do now? I needed that magic in a cup to complete my thesis, nay, to exist as a human being! It wasn’t until the end of the day, when I went down for my last cup - depressed that I no longer had that magic in a cup to make my world a better existence - that I looked at the sign on the coffee carafe. It read: decaf. DECAF!!!! And to think I’d made it to my fourth year of university was writing a thesis, but apparently still had difficulty reading the English language (although, maybe if I had had my cup of REAL coffee, I wouldn’t have had so much trouble).
Do you have any coffee confessions from your travels? I’d love to hear from you. For those of you like-minded coffee addicts, who may take to flight soon, Lindsey Goodwin writes a post on “How to Say coffee in 71 Different Languages.” This might get you out of trouble when you are jonesing for a coffee in say, Japan or Egypt.
Safe travels wherever your coffee-sipping adventures may take you,